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The Accessory for All Seasons: Cowrie Shells

I love working with cowrie shells! The shell is my primary creative muse and is incorporated into the majority of my designs. Some my believe that the shells are summer accessories only, however they can be worn year-round. Cowrie shells give looks an Afrocentric or boho chic vibe. With a little bit of knowledge and some guidance, you can style with these beautiful seashells. There are three things to consider when styling with the shells size, color, and occasion.


Cowrie shells come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s important to consider the overall size of the shell when choosing an accessory, as this can make a big difference in how it looks when worn. For example, choose an accessory with a larger shell for a bolder look. On the other hand, smaller shells give a more subtle look.

Cowrie Crown Headband

The size of shells that I primarily use is somewhere in between. When I get a shipment of shells, one of the first things I do is separate the shells by size and shape. A few customers have referenced my shell size consistency and believes it gives a finished look in addition to more value. To create a bold look, I use 12 or more shells to create statement pieces like my cowrie crown headband. I also have designs with single shells for a delicate look. Regardless, both design styles are unique and conversation starters.


The color of the most common cowrie shell ranges from white to yellow. The color of the shell makes the designs versatile because they blend well with any color. The neutral color won’t detract from the beauty of an overall look. The color also combines well with other accessories that complement the shells, such as gold or silver chains, beads, or charms.

Cowrie Tassel Hoop Earrings 

The natural color gives tremendous freedom in selecting and mixing hues. Incorporating other brighter colors harmoniously. I like combining the shell with fabrics and various colors. The fabric and colors add some pop to the design. A great example is my cowrie tassel hoop earrings. They are perfect for folks who love prints, bold colors, and showcasing their personal style.


For formal events, you can opt for more understated accessories that won't overpower your outfit, such as a single strand of cowrie shells in a neutral hue. On the other hand, if you going to a family or friends gathering, you can accessorize with a multiple shell statement piece. The shell is very versatile and can dress up or down a look.

I personally wear cowrie shell accessories every day! I’m really loving my mud cloth crossbody bag this season. Mudcloth is a handwoven textile that is dyed using fermented mud. It’s a traditional West African fabric that features intricate patterns and symbols. My crossbody bag is an everyday bag that has an outside mudcloth pocket and an inside pocket. These pockets help in separating items that need to be readily accessible. The bag also has a zipper closure and an adjustable strap.

Mudcloth Crossbody Bag 

By taking into account the size, color, and occasion when choosing cowrie shell accessories, you can create stylish looks. Same size shells provide uniformity and a finished look. The neutral natural color works well with any look. The shells have a classic appeal and will stand the test of time. My online shops offer a wide selection of beautiful cowrie shell accessories that are perfect for any occasion. With my extensive designing experience, I can provide you with the guidance you need to create the perfect look.

No look is complete without great accessories!

Tonya – Visionary Designer

Get a FREE copy of my “Styling With Hair Accessories Guide” here.

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